Citroen's rally-team boss Olivier Quesnel will keep a spot open for Kimi Räikkönen in the French outfit's, No.1 team for the 2011 season. .
Räikkönen starts in WRC-rally next season in Citroen's Junior Team.
- It is clear that if he progresses and indicates a certain level of skill, without him being required to do impossible things, he could transfer to the primary team in 2011, Quesnel says in French Autohebdo-site's interview.
A comeback to F1 is only a back-up plan for Räikkönen at this point.
- If he has real difficulties in rally then he perhaps could return to Formula One, Quesnel said.
Quesnel also revealed that the negotiations about Räikkönen's rally-transfer deal started immediately when Ferrari announced that the Finn will not be driving for them in 2010.
- This [contract] has been under negotiation for the last two months. He wanted to drive in rallies, very passionately.
I think Kimi just really wanted to go to WRC, his co-driver mentioned the same details as Quesnel. Kimi is a Finn after all, they all grow up with rallying, rallying is properly more respected then F1 in Finland, therefore it is also very much, partly a cultural thing.
Apparently Kimi wants to become the first F1 and WRC champion. If that is really his goal, then he has to start somewhere, rally in itself requires full commitment, lots of skill and also experience, so Kimi has to start somewhere and he might as well do it now. Besides something also gives me the idea that he will properly enjoy rallying so much that he wouldn't want to go back to F1 again. Except if he performs really badly, but I can't really see that happening, he has already showed some real potential.
It will also be fantastic to perhaps see Kimi and Loeb together at Lemans, I hope that isn't just a rumour.